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Race discrimination

Overview
The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation for the protected characteristic of 'race'.

Key points

  • ‘Race’ is defined as including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, or being a person of a particular racial group.
  • Direct discrimination occurs where a person is treated, or would be treated, less favourably ‘because of’ race compared with others in like-for-like circumstances.
  • Indirect race discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) puts an individual of a particular race at a particular disadvantage compared with people of a different race. An employer may be able to justify the PCP as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
  • An occupational requirement, where the nature or context of the work require a person to be of a particular race, can be a lawful exception to direct and indirect discrimination. 
  • Harassment occurs where unwanted conduct related to race violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
  • Victimisation occurs where a person is subjected to a detriment for carrying out a ‘protected act’ (for example, bringing a discrimination claim). 
  • Employers are liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees ‘in the course of employment’.
Recent developments

Following consultation on the bands of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination claims, the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland have confirmed an increase to the compensation bands.

The three bands of compensation for injury to feelings were identified in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Policy (No 2) and were previously adjusted in 2009 by Da’Bell v NSPCC. A 2017 Court of Appeal decision in Pereira de Souza v Vinci Construction UK Ltd confirmed the 10 per cent Simmons v Castle uplift should be applied to the bands. This decision triggered the consultation.

For claims presented on or after 11 September 2017, the bands for compensation for injury to feelings have increased to the following:

  • lower band (for less serious cases, such as one off incidents): £800 to £8,400
  • middle band (for serious cases not within the upper band): £8,400 to £25,200
  • upper band (for most serious cases, such as length campaigns): £25,000 to £42,000

These bands will be reviewed in March 2018 and annually thereafter.